Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A doughnut with the sin removed.

Loaded smile
Light the way for those you left behind
Set the earth on fire
‘Cause I don’t want enough
I want it all

Love left me hollow
I’m with you in the end
Cold, crippled, and shallow
Don’t leave me here again
I can’t go on
You are bound to break me in
I come undone
Don’t you drag me down again
Lochlan doesn't want to be described as or have anyone interpret my loyalty to him as submission. He doesn't play those games. We've tried. It doesn't work. It's sort of like when I wear high heels and nail polish I look like a little girl playing dress up. Same with us with regards to sex games. It isn't natural for us and so we don't. He isn't wired like other people. I mean, don't get me wrong. He has a stupidly hungry teenage-boy appetite for me but he's not going to tie me up and expect compliance or invoke any sort of role-playing.

He is different.

Actually right now he is tired and worn, with bags under his eyes and the unnatural thinness that he wears by now most summers when his hair lightens to blonde and he embraces the sun, working in the heat, forgetting to stop for meals or even breaks for that matter. Each fall and winter he packs on twenty pounds and then it melts off every summer. Like insurance for the hard season ahead.

The work is still voluntary. Word of mouth is spreading and he's refurbished more campers this spring  than the last two years combined. The work is honest, the money is good and the location is a-okay, he says, fulfilling his hard-set criteria for most jobs.

He works in the sun all day and makes a hundred trips a week to the hardware supply store and then I think sometimes he stays up all night watching me sleep so I don't get taken in the night by demons or allies alike.

Not an easy life, by far and I'd like to change that and that's one of the biggest reasons for why I cut Caleb loose even though if you ask him we're 'on a break' or 'working things out'.

We aren't. I'm through. He can accept it or die in denial, I don't really care.

What I do care about is my redhead right here and he needs kindness and rest and a bit more of a break than he's had thus far and I'll be the one to see that he gets it.


Can you run and get my payout, Bridgie? 

Where is it?

The Winnebago on the south side of the lot. You can't miss it.


I came back fifteen minutes later, overheated and almost in tears from frustration.

What's the matter? 

I couldn't find the booth where you win a bagel! You said I couldn't miss it but I must of! 

His face. The smile was suffocating his amusement and I knew he was trying not to laugh at me. No, it's a Winn-e-bag-o. It's a big brand of RV. 


Want to try again?

Yes! I'm glad it's just a camper. I didn't want to have to try to win any of those games. They're all fixed anyway, like you showed me. I thought you were crazy!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Overtalking, the classic distraction.

A new pastel pink bikini was delivered to me this morning unannounced. Caleb had it sent from a store where I once admired their things and then came to my senses because swimsuits, in my universe, don't cost $1100. I promptly got what I needed at Wal-Mart with the dark green number for a cool $17.99. 

He says that's why it doesn't last. I pointed out they don't last because sand/concrete/wood is snaggy and the bum fabric gets grabbed and pulled so easily and sorry, but I'm not one of those Ibiza ladies in her high heels, full makeup and jewelry dancing on a yacht in my bikini and never sitting down. I'm a kid. I skid off the dock on my arse. I sit on the beach. I sit with my feet in the pool. Fuck Ibiza. Fuck yachts. Swimsuits are for swimming. Those people are wearing glorified lingerie. 

I went over and asked him to send it back. Just lie and say it didn't fit or was redundant, that I can't take gifts from him anymore and that thank you but I plan on picking up a new suit this weekend. Probably at Wal-Mart. 

He cringes. (Wow. Nice. It's horrible if it isn't Dior? What the fuck, Caleb. You weren't raised like this so fuck off with the snobbery, I'm thinking but he's busy steamrolling ahead.)

My parental support includes household needs. You're part of the household and have a need for a new suit. Enjoy it, Bridget. With my compliments. 


Is that 'thank you' in Carnyspeak? 


Bridget, the money I have given you is yours without conditions but I still have more than you so if I want to treat you then I should be able to pick up the occasional item that you require without it turning into world war three. 

 I fired you. 

No, what you asked for was a break. 

Wow, I love revisionist history. I asked for a permanent bre-

A physical moratorium, and as you can see, I've chosen to decline. I'm hoping this phase of yours doesn't last long. In the meantime please give an old man somethig nicer to look at then your half-naked bearded friends around the pool. 

You're saying if I grow a beard I would be less attractive to you? 

I didn't say that. 

Oh so you're saying if I did grow one I'd be as attractive?


Maybe moreso?

Stop. Please. 

What if I get PJ to wear this suit and I'll wear his board shorts? His beard is so lovel-

What will you wear on top?

Nothing! He doesn't wear a shirt. Why would I? 

If you would like to skinny-dip, call me. 

I knew it. The beard turns you on. 

Christ. Will you keep the suit, Bridget?

Because beards are hawwwwwwwwwwwww-


I'll ask Lochlan if it's okay. 

Why does he need to approve this?

Hey, I didn't say I didn't want to be submissive anymore, I said I didn't want to be a sub to YOU. 

I draped the bikini pieces over each of his shoulders and went home. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

I see red.

I wasn't sleeping, I was just lying facedown on the chaise under the umbrella. In my bikini, which is getting worn out on the bum as is always the case. It's dark green and plain and my towel matches. I have a headache. I'm about to drag myself back across the lawn to my own house to maybe try and actually sleep for an hour when I feel lips against my shoulder and a hand land on the back of my head.

Neamhchiontach. Are you awake?

I shake my head but otherwise I don't move.

Why don't you come inside for a drink and cool off?

Caleb got central air. I'm jealous. Our house is oppressive in places and I have kept the curtains closed for days now but that reminds me of the time Jake left and I didn't want to see any light at all so I can't be inside. I could spring for the central air but it's usually only two weeks worth of weather cumulatively each year so it seems like such a waste. Also I have a theory that if you never manage to tolerate anything you'll always be miserable.

On the other hand, well, here I am with headaches and nausea and extreme crankiness.

He moves his hand from my head, tracing his fingers down my spine and I shiver because that's what I do. Of course he mistakes that for interest and slides his hand down over my thigh.

I hear Loch swear (record time getting across the backyard) and I look up but Caleb doesn't move.

Loch says a whole host of lovely things to him in Gaelic and I cringe. They're going to drown each other before June is over.

I roll over onto my back and look up at Caleb with a smile. Diabhal-

He puts his hands up. It was just a suggestion. I'm trying to do things to help make you comfortable in this heat. He smiles down at me as if Lochlan isn't even there.

Except that he is and he's now beside us and he shoves Caleb right into the pool.

I'll admit, it's not nearly as frightening as when he's tackled Caleb and they've gone over the cliff. One of these days they're going to bounce off the face of it and not survive. So this is child's play. I roll back over and put my head down. I just need to lie still and then I'm not too hot.

I hear Caleb get out but Lochlan's already gone back to the house. He doesn't mind the heat. Never has, never will. And frankly I don't blame him for pushing Caleb into the pool to break whatever spell he was trying to cast over me. Caleb should know better but he can't seem to help himself and has been cornering me every chance he gets.

Did you have your phone on you?

Yes, Bridget. I always seem to.

You should leave it inside. 

I'll bear it in mind. 

Saturday, 27 June 2015


If I just stay in bed I don't have to acknowledge the fact that the Canucks just traded the best thing that ever happened to them to the Hurricanes.


Mr. Benning! Please quit while you're ahead. Wait, you know what? Nevermind. You passed on Lucic yesterday. Obviously we are not on the same page here!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Stomach in 'nauts.

I feel a little bit fragile today, seeing as how there have been five voicemails (and now the space is full) and twenty-eight missed calls from Ben. There are 312 messages from him and I haven't even woken up yet. Today is the first day where someone doesn't have to get up and leave for an exam or to pick up a mark or a report card or a locker-contents. And so I didn't rush so much. I bribed PJ heavily to let the dog out and back in and my plan is to burst into flames from the heat. It's so hot out the air feels like lava to me and I don't want to move.

Maybe the heat was what led the US to finally legalize marriage for all, across the board. Something that feels like old news as we achieved this a decade ago here in Canada and I am so happy that the rest of the continent is finally on board. Congratulations. There's a whole lot more I could say on this but it doesn't matter anymore. Love won.

Love is the best.

As long as it goes well, I mean. And even if it doesn't, well, it's still the most important thing.

It goes well for some of us. One of the selfish joys of polyandry for me is that I have backup love. If something isn't going well in one area it's usually going well in another. Last night after the awful call with Ben, it was late so we went to bed. I fell asleep with my hands up by my chin and my face tucked in under Lochlan's chin, his arms tight around me, forcing my heart up into my head where it ate my brain so that my brain couldn't continue to lie there awake plotting sabotage or mutiny or worse.

When I woke up the same way I could face the morning. Loch has a neat way of convincing me it actually is a new day and that things will be better. He does it without words though, and he's mighty stingy with it. I opened my eyes and his face tightened up. He's smiling but I can't see him, only his neck.

You're awake. 

Mm. It's Friday. 

It is Friday. He squeezes me hard against his chest. What would you like for breakfast? 

A banana. 


Some juice. 

Okay. I'll be right back. Don't move. 

Breakfast in bed? 

Why not? We're not in a rush. 

Will you bring enough for both of us?

Of course. 

I smiled and closed my eyes again as cooler air rushed in to fill his space and fell back asleep. When I woke up next Loch was pointing a banana at my face.

Wakey Pea-naut. 

Pea-naut? Hahahaha.

Why 'naut? Fill up that 'space'.  

Oh my God, the puns. But if it's a galactic breakfast I see no butter. 

I ate it. I brought this up half an hour ago. 

Why didn't you wake me up?

I just did! Eat your banana, you lazy little thing. 

If you slept the way I did you'd never want to get up either. 

He grins.

Thursday, 25 June 2015


They just levelled a total open fire ban on the province, which includes campfires and fireworks. Lochlan had already smartly stored his torches, away and clean in the garage until the fall because the grass is crunchy and brown. He still has magic up his sleeves, however. Always. He can still juggle fishbowls or ice cream cones or open beer bottles without spilling a drop so he will chip away at maintaining his odd skillset without a break and if he gets bored with that he's already unicycled the circumference of the new pool a few times as we ran to keep up and tried to push him in.

Maybe it's a good thing it's not saltwater. Unicycles aren't something you can buy at Wal-mart. If you can then it isn't a very good one. They should be exceedingly light and made of good quality parts.

No one would let me have a turn at navigating the edge of the pool. Loch said if I fell the wrong way and cracked my head open on the pavement he would never forgive himself. This said as Caleb was saying Absolutely not! in his perfect End Of Discussion voice that almost drowned out everything else.

I'm surprised I'm allowed over there at all. I actually haven't been allowed to be there alone yet. I asked if we were keeping a buddy rule for it and that it was a good idea but they shrugged and said no, not really. Duncan has been living there mostly since it was finished and he swims alone all the time.

So the rule is just for the children. PJ said anyone under six feet tall qualifies as a kid here. Lochlan (5'9") asked what the fuck? and I wondered aloud how will we account for Ben when he comes back as he's the biggest kid of all and yet he is 6'4" and change. He'll be cannonballing into that pool until Christmas, until chlorine kills the grass twenty feet out from the edge and he won't even bat an eye.

He's already excited. I talked to him this morning. He forwarded another list of perfectly clean drug test results and some cheesy videos of him and some of the other guys sitting around watching chick movies and reciting the lines from the movies in tandem with the characters.

In return I sent him a video of me losing a burping contest with John, one of the kids reading their report card results in goofy accents and making their excuses, one of Loch juggling emptying wine glasses full of spare change instead of putting them away as he emptied the dishwasher one night. And then one of PJ screaming like a girl on the waverunner just to make us laugh. He can hold the note for at least two minutes straight. I lose my shit every time laughing.

Ben did too. It was great. He watched them all through on his phone while I watched his face on Skype on his laptop and then he looked at the floor for a while before telling me he missed being home.

Then come home, goofball. Use your out. Pack it in. You have a replacement. Take him up on it. 

I don't want to disappoint everyone. 

But it's cool to do it to us. I get it. 


I gotta go. Need to find a buddy so I can swim. Harder than it should be but they're all busy. 


Bye Ben. Talk to you soon. 

No love-yous, no don't-gos, no nothing.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Once school is out for the summer we're really going to have to learn to behave.

Chlorine and I don't get along. The instant rash and bloodshot eyes were the earliest giveaways and now the pool has been cycled through with the levels of chemicals lowered. I asked if it could be changed to saltwater, as that should have been the obvious choice, but Caleb said the poured concrete around the pool would fall apart faster than one of my love affairs.

Only yours, I said, because I was stung and caught by surprise. We got into a match of words and wills right there and then in front of the pool guy and wow, he got an earful. I apologized later and sent flowers to atone for his discomfort and our poor manners.

Over lunch Lochlan decided to dredge the whole thing up again, reminding Caleb that I have frighteningly sensitive skin and Caleb sat gripping the sides of the table, listening. He finally looked at Loch (who didn't seem to want to stop) with a withered expression and said, It's not like I pushed her in. 

She doesn't know any better! Loch told him and at least five of us at the table rolled our eyes. I spoke sharply to Loch to snap him back to the present. He focused on me and and said, Still! Who's going to be able to stay out of a brand-new pool?! The kids will have the same issues she did. I'm surprised this wasn't considered. 

I will be accountable for myself, Locket. 

First world problems, Duncan says to no one in particular but when I meet his eyes he winks at me.

Race you to the deep end. I challenge him and he stuffs the remainder of his sandwich into his face and jumps up, emptying his pockets and kicking his chair backwards at the same time. I leap to my feet and he is off and running.

I sit back down and take a sip of my tea.

This works far more often than he will care to admit but it's also a great way to divert attention from the sudden urge to flip a table. Caleb got up and cleared his own dishes without a word and Loch flung his arm over the back of my chair and decided he had said enough.

PJ asked Dalton if he could run a couple towels out to his brother. Once Duncan realizes no one else is coming (whether it's into the pool or off the cliff) he will make his way back to the house slowly, stripping out of his wet clothes as he goes. He will stroll into the house buck-naked and greet every single one of us individually and at length. He will wave his manlier body part around in people's faces or hit them in the back with it. They hate it. He's so shameless. I've been told to stop tricking him but really I don't mind.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

And an A+ for my meandering exactitude (answering some questions from the week. Email is in profile, as ever.)

For those asking, no, we're not going to invoke all of the paperwork Ben left for me just in case and run off and marry each other. I already told everyone, including Lochlan that my intentions are to wait for Ben. That hasn't changed. I broke up with Caleb to simplify and better my life, keep it healthier and more transparent, not because there's any grand plans to fulfill the daydreams of a little girl who maybe grew up just enough to see that sometimes dreams change.

This little girl is happiest with two. I love Lochlan but I love Ben too and as much as it's unconventional and seemingly more complicated than it ought to be, I don't plan on changing a thing.

I will admit I am addicted to falling in love. Who wouldn't be? It's the best feeling in the world, and Lochlan and I seem to have it down to a science. We never fall out of love, exactly, we just get horribly discombobulated and disconnected, disenchanted and disenfranchised with each other and then we find peace and fall hard all over again.

It could be worse. It can always be worse. Let us have this.

^ Right there.

That's why I had to leave Caleb, though if you ask him, I have done nothing of the sort. He is enjoying his denial so much I have five grey envelopes here for the past five nights. I opened none of them. If need be I'll forward them to the lawyers or maybe the mediator but I'm trying to give him latitude to be disappointed. I fucked him over good and he's angry and sad and as I already said he is lonely. I finally realized it's not my problem to fix. I also realized that I enjoyed our cat and mouse game too much, it brought me a sick sort of pleasure in being able to indulge fantasies with him that no one else will permit. That's a release I might miss, though August calls it conditioning and says it can be helped, that it just takes time, and I'm so frustratingly impatient.

(But what if I can't fix it? What if I'm just weird? I cried to August one day and he said I promise you you're not. You just figured out a way to survive it. You were too young to have created a preference and so he did it for you. I was sad for myself after that. August was downright horrified.)

Lochlan understands why I won't leave Ben, why I'm keeping the three of us together. And in my rightside-up moments I understand why Ben went. And why he left all that paperwork in case I got angry with him and gave up. And if it was a test after all this, then I'm going to pass with flying colors.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Will the faithful be rewarded
When we come to the end
Will I miss the final warning
From the lie that I have lived
Is there anybody calling
I can see the soul within
And I am not worthy
I am not worthy of this
Right now it's three in the morning. I open my eyes as Lochlan's hand slides down my face and wraps around my back to pull me into his arms. He's not even awake, he's in the sweet place in life when you don't know your dreams aren't real. Once he can get his left arm fully around me to hold me close he climbs over me. Oh, he's awake now, right hand curious and alert as his lips land against mine. I pull him down and we start to move. In reverse, starting slowly instead of crazy-fast like we usually do, out of breath, in a rush.

He builds up gradually until we're at speed and then changes direction again. More pressure, slower even than before, holding me down with one wrist pinned against the quilt. His mouth is open, lower lip slack, eyes watching me in the dark. He bends his head down and kisses me like he used to. I don't even fight for breath. This is great. I can die right here. But no, he still has other plans for me.

He scoops me up closer to him and begins to move faster and harder. I slide my hands up into his hair and he pulls away again and smiles at me. Then he gets up and flips me over onto my stomach and resumes the faster cadence, holding both my hands tightly in his left hand, over my head, his face right there above my shoulder, his mouth warm against my hair. He makes the most glorious sound and then slows to a agonizing crawl before stopping. He lets go and turns me back tightly into his right arm this time as we lie there staring at each other in the dark.


I can't write this stuff properly. It comes out sounding like a poorly-executed romance novel and yet when I do try to write about it it's because it was particularly profound or singularly significant. There's no way to convey it but I try anyway. It's been just me and him in the big bed for months and last night was the first night that I didn't feel the stinging cold absence of Benjamin shrouding everything like a miserable fog.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Deep end doubt.

I had Father's day breakfast with Lochlan and Caleb by the pool. I wheeled the pressure washer out across the grass to the yard next door and PJ, Andrew and New-Jake were all recruited to wake up early on a Sunday and mostly keep an eye on us from afar.

Caleb laughed when he arrived and saw the machine, but only briefly. Then he shook Lochlan's hand and wished him a Happy Father's Day. Loch nodded curtly and said Same but his eyes were lit up like Christmas and I could tell he was having a hell of a time not gloating. 

How is your nose?

No longer bleeding, Loch told him as they set about unpacking the picnic breakfast I made. Your chin?

I iced it for an hour. Probably won't shave for the week to cover the bruise. 

Loch nods again and goes quiet. He doesn't want to be here. Ruth will sleep for four more hours so this has nothing to do with Father's Day but I need to be able to be around Caleb without flinching, without it being awkward. I've done this before. I've cut him off. It resulted in a weird sort of emptiness in one spot in my head but that was different because back then he didn't live on the same property.

But I think he'll be fine. I might be too.

It doesn't affect Ben either. I have compartmentalized him down to a fine science and have room for him. Lots of it, since he's big. But right now he lives in the teevee and I turn on the Ben-channel and he smiles and tells me I did the right thing and I nod and the tears roll but he can't see them and so we talk about new music and old friends and he always signs off with see you soon as if I like lies. He said For once you did what you should have always done, Bumblebee and I can't wait to get home to you and to Loch, as if nothing's going to go wrong with this grand plan of ours.

I'm not hungry, even as I unwrap the toast from the foil and put a piece on my plate beside a soft boiled egg and some cantaloupe. Lochlan pours tea from the thermos and I put the plate down and take the cup in both hands instead, while Caleb ignores the food as well, walking around the perimeter of the pool, admiring (or critiquing) the workmanship. It's a fairly expansive kidney shape, tiled in dark blue, built into the side of a gentle hill so there is a whole new garden extending around one curve and up toward Daniel's house. It looks like it's been here forever, or it will as soon as the tractor marks fade from the lawn. The fence is up and lockable and Caleb even had a slide put in at the deep end, which is too high and terrifies me but I will make myself use it until I'm not afraid anymore. He said he will probably use the pool early in the mornings and late at night, but we are all free and encouraged to use it often, whenever. It's heated and private and actually kind of nice. I still regard the whirlpool with suspicion. I think that might be nice in the winter.

Eat something, Peanut. Loch prods me with his elbow very gently and I turn to look at him with my eyes wide. 

You promised you wouldn't do that. 

Eat something...please?

Marginally better. Last time I checked you were not my father. 

Last time I checked I was pretty much covering all the parts in this show.

I suppose you want extra pay then. 

I don't want his money. 

If she wants to finance your life you should let her. It turns out she's smarter than you. Caleb is back. Like a cat, stalking along the quiet lapping water. This water is redundant. When I look at it I can see the ocean in my peripheral vision. The blues and greens clash. This is not salt. It's chlorine. It's extravagant and he is not welcome in any discussion I have with Lochlan that isn't his specific business. 

Oh but it is because he pointed out all the caveats where I still must funnel my financial plans through him and he has the power to veto or have mediated anything he doesn't like. It's designed to keep Lochlan out. It's designed to keep me in. Don't worry. There are more lawyers and I'm paying them overtime to look this over because I don't think he's telling the truth. He was smiling the entire time he talked and that's when I know that he lies. 

He is right, Bridget. You should eat. Your hands are shaking. Pleased with himself for noticing, for scoring a point in the Who Knows Bridget Best contest, he turns to walk off again. 

It's from bringing the hose. It's heavy. 

It's from fear, Neamhchiontach. You're flailing. You have no idea what you want. I can see it. He sees it and Ben hears it in your voice when you ask him to come home soon. Nothing will change. 

I have changed. 

You can't change. You have no resources to improve yourself, no spare strength to make a move, no willpower to see anything through. You'll end up keeping everyone on the shortest leash imaginable because you like it that way and because you can't change it. You can't handle any more regrets, rejection or renewal. You're stuck and your life is quicksand. You'll always be just out of reach, up to your waist but if you don't move much you won't sink further. That's how I sleep at night. THAT'S WHY I HAVEN'T KILLED HIM YET FOR TAKING YOU AWAY FROM ME. 

He turned and walked out of the pool area, letting the gates swing behind him as he made his way back to the boathouse, and I could see PJ standing by the wall, having heard the shouting, waiting to be needed, just in case. I wait for the cold empty spot in my head to take over but it doesn't. It doesn't clash like the water colors, it just blends right in until I can't define it anymore. 

Loch kisses the top of my head and wonders out loud if we should go back to sleeping with the kitchen knife like we did in the camper in the not-so-good areas. 

He's wrong about you though, Bridgie. Letting go of two hundred pounds of bloated excess is a hell of a big improvement. 

He's still here. What are you talking about? 

Yeah but if he can't touch you he may as well be on the moon. So I'd say you have a huge capacity for getting better. And you get braver every year that I've known you, contrary to what you think.

What if it were you on the receiving end of my rejection? Would you be so encouraging? 

I wouldn't be able to speak or even breathe for that matter, so no, if you want me to be honest. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Szegény (right back to thirteen and eighteen).

Lochlan looked at me late last night as we sat alone out front, shellshocked and porch-drunk, his glassy eyes sober and frightened and he said, In case you wondered. It's not that I didn't want this, it's that I'm scared to death I'll just fuck it up like everyone else has. 

Everyone's afraid, Locket.

Are you? 


Of me? 

Of us. 'Us' was always so much bigger than everything else. Bigger than the rides. Bigger than that sky. 

Still is. 

I know it. 

Us is what's right. Us is what's supposed to be, Bridgie.

What if I kill you?

You can't. I remember holding you and your fears, back when you were little. Your fear was so big it almost suffocated me but I figured out how to talk you out of it and eventually I would get so tired. I'd be talking and talking and in my head I'd be praying. Please, please let her go to sleep. I'm so tired, Lord. Jesus, if you can hear me just let her sleep and after a while you would stop answering me and I would look down at your face and your eyes would be closed but your hands would be clenching the front of my shirt so tightly it was as if they were still awake and I knew you were where you were supposed to be. With me. That I couldn't die or leave because it was my job to look after you. I just did a shitty job of it when I was younger. If I could take back leaving you I would. 

So would I. 

It might have saved all this. You never would have ended up with any of them. But we can't take things back. Maybe they do happen for a reason.

What was the reason for all of this then? 

Maybe it was to teach you that out of all the men you've loved, I'm not really so bad. He laughs so hard he falls out of his chair to the porch floor and then laughs even harder.

You sure about that? I stand up and hold out my hand but when I try to pull him up he pulls me down with him and he kisses the top of my head and squeezes me really hard and asks me if I'm really ready to live in a camper again because once Caleb is through rage-quitting me we'll probably have five dollars left over.

Maybe two campers so we can have room for the kids and my easel. We can make one big articulating camper. 

Or I could renovate a school bus. 

Yeah you could do that. 

But would you live in it? 

In a heartbeat. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

I fired my sugar daddy. What did you all do today?

(Jesus Christ. Drama.)

Lochlan is stretched out in the sun, sipping a glass of orange juice, reading a book. I'm close by in the shade, curled up in a chair in shorts and a hoodie. My book is too far away, upstairs beside the bed. I'm thirsty and he won't share, everyone is out, including the kids who write exams this week and this is the most beautiful weather so far this year.

So what did you say? You actually fired him? 

No, once he explained all the paperwork and gave me the files I...decommissioned him very gently. I didn't stay after that. We didn't watch a movie. 

Decommissioned. Ha. This is so ludicrous. The life you have led. 


Now I can be your sugar daddy. He rolls his eyes.

You mean I can be yours. But back in the day you were literally my sugar daddy and I have a few stubborn cavities and near-diabetes to show for it. 

You either have diabetes or you don't, Bridget. 

I have a lethal sweet tooth and I blame you. Never use food as a reward. 

I didn't. I used candy. Candy isn't food. 

It is to me. 

Well, like I said. You ain't right, He drawled. No accent. It was my turn to laugh. He's only marginally able to joke about any of this. It cuts so close. I turned over and smiled at him. Maybe we'll get somewhere someday, I'm thinking, when the side gate flies open and Caleb barges into what was a perfectly good morning. Loch gets up fast.

This is your fault, Caleb tells him.

Huh? I didn't know she was going to put you out to pasture. That's what you do when a horse gets too old to be of use though..

Caleb stops and nods and then throws one of the best punches I've ever seen from him, honestly. Friday morning now features a bloodfall over Lochlan's lower face. Epic nosebleed. Holy cow.

Lochlan fires back and connects with Caleb's jaw and grabs the front of his shirt on the way out of the strike, dragging Caleb forward into his knee before letting go. I slide in between them. Loch scoops me right out of the way as gently as he can and I'm left with no choice. No one's home. I didn't even think Caleb was home. I look for weapons, distractions. The orange juice is half empty but the pressure washer is right there. Two birds, one stone. I can get them separated and blast all of the blood off Lochlan in one go. I fire it up and Caleb does a double take. He yells Don't you dare, Bridget. I've got my blackberry on me. 

Don't really care. I squeeze the trigger and they both holler at once but back off each other so I let go.

Lochlan moves to come to me so I blast him again. In the face.


I think it hurt. I think his nose is broken. Now he's wet with a river of red right down his whole front. Caleb is checking his blackberry to see if it works. Fucking whatever so I blast him again too to see if he gets my point.

He rolls his eyes and frisbees his phone off into the grass. He turns to me and asks me nicely to put the sprayer down.

Only if you two are done hurting each other. I hate it. I stop talking so I don't cry.

What's going to happen when Ben comes back and finds out you didn't wait for him after all? 

This has nothing to do with Ben. It's between you and I. 

It's Pyro inserting himself where he doesn't belong and holding undue influence over y-

He didn't even know until this morning! 

Lochlan takes his shirt off and uses it to try and clean up his face. Yeah, fucktard.

Caleb moves to lunge at him and I blast him. Just a little.


Hurt him again and I'll flatten you with this. It's...it's a really high PSI. 

What does that mean?

I can take the paint off the space shuttle. From here. 

Where is the shuttle?

I don't fucking know! 

He puts his hands up and backs down. I don't need him charming you into an unstable situation. That's all.

Unstable? What the fuck, you asshole! Loch is ready to go again. Shirt's on the ground, a red puddle of surprise.

You don't have her best interests at heart, Loch. You want to be sixteen forever. She needs more than-

Are you two finished? I pulse the sprayer just once and they both look at me.

If you want a further explanation then come see me later. I look at Caleb. I'm sorry I did it on the heels of a net worth inventory but I had to make sure. You always tell me to make sure. So I did. And it looks bad. I'll give some of the money back if you want but otherwise I need to do this. I can't keep you here as Cole forever. I'm not getting anywhere. I need to get somewhere. This isn't working. 

You were in it for the money?

I was in it for revenge and for other reasons but none of them were ever about money.

You loved me at some point. 

Still do. 

You're going to kill me with these candid thoughts, Neamhchiontach.

I wish I could sometimes.

Lochlan snorts and I turn the sprayer toward him but don't turn it on. He puts his hands up and turns and walks away. Caleb stays put.

Don't you give him everything, Bridget. He betrayed you the worst of anyone. 

He's paid dearly for it already, Diabhal.

Who gets to decide that?


Should I call Ben and get him home now before there's nothing left for him to come back to?

Please don't act as if you have his best interests at heart. He wanted me to do this a long time ago. But I don't listen. I take forever and make up my own mind instead.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

I think it's called bonding.

(Sometimes you just have to say the right words to me and then my thoughts fall neatly into place where they are supposed to be, instead of the way they usually are, scattered haphazardly all over the floor of my mind.)

But you do trust me. You trust me to make sure we don't starve, you trust me to be there on the platform at the other end of the wire. You trust me enough to always ask me first if I can help you even when I'm the biggest asshole alive, pushing you off out of fear, taking you for granted when I should  be counting my lucky stars. You know I'll be there even if I say I won't be. I'm the constant. I'm the sun, for Gods sake. I'll be there. Every morning come hell or high water. Every night until my death. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

We got a huge umbrella for over the Adirondack chairs on the stone patio. This girl burns like fire so it became a necessity. I love to sit outside. I'll read/eat/sleep there whenever possible but I found myself heading for shade more often than not as of late. The grotto in front is very buggy and also devoid of men so patio it is. They tan. Even Loch eventually burnishes a bit to go with his golden red curls. Even Ruth eventually tans.

But me? Nope. I'm a galaxy of giant freckles floating in a pink sky. 

So with the new umbrella situated just-so I resume life in the backyard and soon enough the Devil appears to inspect the latest purchase. He approves but most likely only because I can be touched if I'm not sunburnt. Priorities.

He passes me a whiskey on rocks and sits in the chair beside me.

Much better. He says. 

And how, I nod. 

Come watch a movie tonight? I heard your nineties dinosaurfest is over finally. Lochlan and I finished watching the third film late last evening. 

What movie?

Whatever you like. 

Chose from my wishlist then. He smiles and runs the bottom of his glass across my propped-up toes. I think he could have a foot fetish if he were any less regimented but nope, he keeps his weaknesses to tying & crying (me not him).

Maybe we could have a swim.

Can we talk too? 


Just where I stand with the various allotments and property. I guess I felt as if it was connected to me continuing to work for you and now that I don't have to do that anymore since you've officially-officially retired then I don't know what assets are mine exactly or if there are any, what I should do with them? 

I'd be happy to advise you. We'll go over everything before dinner. I told you what was yours already. It surprises me that you don't consider it to be so. 

I guess I get distracted. A refresher would be great. Should I plan to be there for a while? 

A nightcap or late dessert after the movie would be nice. I won't keep you til morning or anything like that. I don't want to awaken the beast but I do need some time with my favorite girl. It will be worth your while. 

How's that?

Curious little thing today, aren't you?

You retiring has me thinking about the future, that's all. 

His eyebrows go up. He's amused. I never mention the future. I'm usually too busy living in the past.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

I got to leapfrog right over Monday. Yay!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. Over the weekend we worked our asses off, then we went to see Jurassic World (so fun!! Go!) and it inspired Lochlan and I to watch the other three movies too.

We seriously only came up for air long enough for sex and more nachos.

Kidding. We just locked the door and never bothered pausing the movies even once.

Then we called PJ to bring refreshments. The man commands a high price when he's waiting on me. If I don't want anything he brings me everything. If I want something I have to bid on it. Those nachos cost me a new stereo for his jeep.

They were worth every penny. He even put green onions on them. Spoiled rotten, I am.

Loch is, PJ says with a wink. Someone has to treat him right. 

Oh my G-


Today is another work day. There's no time to be dramatic or write or do anything. It's all work. We've scrubbed the floors, vacuumed all the levels with the swanky new vaccuum, watered all the gardens because it feels like it might never ever rain again (AHAHAHAHA) and changed the beds, which means four epic loads of laundry and a lot of climbing around trying to tuck in fitted sheets and also it means hauling the night owls out of their beds which is a little funny.

Yes I could let them deal with their own beds but if I do that PJ would next change his sheets either if he planned to bring a date home or sometime in 2020, whichever comes first.

(I kid. He doesn't bring dates home anymore. Would you?)

Duncan would never change his sheets at all. Yuck.

On the upside? We spun the music wheel and are listening to the Bee Gees while we work. Which is some sort of audible torture for some of the boys but not for Lochlan and August. They're both singing loudly in falsetto. I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants.

It's been a really good weekend and beginning of the week actually. Kind of like old times, in a way.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Saturdays like no other.

He wrapped one arm around my neck right in the middle of dessert out in the sunny vineyard at the long table when half the boys were carrying dishes back to the house and the other half were engaged in great conversation away from their seats. He kissed my temple, telling me I had a reprieve, that I did well in his absence not jumping ship on our arrangement, not digging myself a deep hole of grief to go into and not shutting him out upon his return. He worries, I should note, about what he's going to come home to when he travels, which is why he prefers to have me come along and then he always knows what to expect always, that it's easier on him.

It's not easier on me, I tell him as he lets go, just as he sees Lochlan coming down across the lawn. I take the last bite of my cake and pick up my dishes. Caleb grabs my wrist and my teacup drops to the ground. He says that because he loves me so much he'll delay our date until midweek. That my reprieve earned by being unpredictable, somewhat stable is a one-off, unlike our occasional evenings.

Lochlan reaches me just as Caleb lets go and takes my dishes from me. Movie? 


Let's go then. It's nice and cool inside. 

I say my goodnights and follow him between the rows, back to the house.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Saturday like any other.

When I present this morning, the Devil thanks me for having his car detailed.

We did it. I didn't have it done.

You did it?

Yes. And Sam. Keith helped. 

Ahh. Very good. I appreciate that but you didn't have to. I have a service for that.

It was cheaper. 

I left you money. 

I spent it on ice cream and glitter. 

He smiles just a little and then asks if I had a restful week in his absence. My composure hit the floor. Not really. It's shaky. I'm going to cry. I don't want to cry.

What happened? The fights?

Fights. Yeah. 

He isn't mature enough to handle you. 

Because a girl who spends hundreds on dessert and craft supplies is such a fucking enigma. 



Most women are into trips, purses and new kitchens at this age. You want to blow bubbles and spin in circles until you throw up. That's a difficult and wonderful thing to process for any man.

He never had trouble before. 

He grew up. You did not. 

You just said he wasn't mature. 

Emotionally he isn't prepared to take on an extra human when he can't look after himself.

Nice. I'm supposed to listen to you tell me this? It's a conflict of interest. 

You're a child with an extensive vocabulary and a knack for breaking hearts-

Stop that. 

It's an intoxicating, deadly combina-


Cue the child, right on time. 

Did you have a nice trip?

I did but I missed my family. 

Okay good. Here's your car key. Henry will be over later. See you later too maybe. 

Alright. Oh. Before you go. Here. He goes to the counter and shuffles through some papers and then comes back to me with a pewter envelope. And keep the car key. Just don't leave it where they can get to it.

I take the key and the envelope but I don't open it. I'm busy juggling composure and false bravado. Now he throws fear at me and I can barely hang on to it.

It's been a long week. I need to spend some time with you. 

It doesn't work like that. 

It works whatever way I say it works. 

Children don't take orders, they're exempt. 

Bring your glitter. I have some uses for it. 

I'm not coming. 

Yes. He smiles. You will. Besides, Pyro only seems to behave and treat you properly when you're in danger, so I'll just keep you there and it will be business as usual. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

When in doubt, feed the little beast.

He knocked on the door and I refused to say anything from within.

He knocked again.

Go away! 

Bridgie, I'm sorry. Could you come out? I'll buy you dinner. 

What is it?

If you could eat anything right now, what would you eat? 

A hot dog and a brownie! With some chocolate milk. 

Then that's what we'll get. 



I opened the door thirty years later and he was still there. Only I don't want a hot dog and a brownie anymore. I'd like to get some Vietnamese food and then maybe an ice cream cone with a walk down by the water.

Then that's what we'll do. 



Thursday, 11 June 2015

"The herpes of the craft world", they call it.

While I slept fitfully last night in the windless ten-thousand degree heat, Sam was exacting his revenge. You would think his identity as a minister would mean he might have gone easy in matters of vengeance, but no, he did not.

All of my shoes? Full of glitter. But only the right one of each.

My purse? Full of glitter.

My favorite tea mug? Yup.

My shampoo contained a large amount of glitter.

My favorite lipstick was dipped in glitter.

The pockets of my hoodie were full of it.

Every chair in the house was coated in a fine layer. It was on the dog. It was on Dalton. It was in PJ's beard.

I finally had to get away from it. So I went down to the beach with Duncan.

And guess what I saw?

Yes. More glitter.

I almost cried. The vacuum cleaner I have isn't so great. Marginally better than the shop vac but not by much so I figured I would disentangle myself from the hoodie, borrow a pair of shoes from Ruth and drive to the store to buy a new vacuum cleaner. We came back up (I'm laugh-crying now) and I got organized and got into Caleb's car, figuring I was safe and didn't get any glitter in his precious R8.

Then I turned it on and twisted the air conditioner up high.

And glitter blew out the vents.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

PB&J (Princess Butt of Jokes).

Don't ask me to write about him today. I'm not going to.

Instead I should tell you I snuck another handful of not-yet-ripe cherries off the tree only to realize when I was eating the last one that they had fruit fly larvae in them.

All told we lost half of that crop since after I was done quiet-screaming at PJ and he googled to show me I wasn't going to die, we picked the rest of the cherries, inspected every single one, and wound up with three whole cups of untainted fruit.

I'm going to make a pie, that way I can cut them all in half to be sure they're safe but I may only eat Twinkies, Kraft Dinner and pop-tarts until the end of time because critters. They're in just about everything else.

Thank you, Google.

In other news, Sam's Kia was glitter-bombed last night. Not in the vents, just thrown all over the outside for fun. Unfortunately the perpetrator (ahem) is rather short and had no idea the sunroof was open and so she's pretty sure the worms were some sort of Divine retaliation.

Did you  know the shop vac won't pick up glitter?

I didn't know that either.

At least Matt thought it was funny. He keeps texting me today, telling me there's glitter on everything now. Every time he lists a new place where he has found it I say GOOD because life should be covered in glitter.

But not bugs.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The child and the fool. Doesn't matter who's who. You can actually ignore this one. It's nothing new.

Break the inside
Hurt in a way you'll like it
Eager to find
Find me another heart
This is how we argue now and it's ludicrous. He does laps around me with the unicycle and I stand in the middle of his circle, eyes closed. We don't talk. I just stand there. It's dumb.

The minute he's in charge I am infantilized again, right back to the good old days.

Brush your teeth, Bridgie. 

Here, Peanut. Have some more carrots. Do you want some milk?

(Do I want milk? No, I don't want any fucking milk. I don't think I'm going to grow any more.)

I'll close this window. It's cooling off. You'll freeze. 

It's late. We need sleep. 

Come here. 

And on and on and I counted about ten or so direct orders in as many hours before I stopped listening altogether. The only reason I came outside tonight is because he asked nicely if I would. As in, Bridget, would you please come outside with me? If he hadn't said please I would still be inside tucked under PJ's arm, reading my book.

Here I am. And there he goes again in another circle. He's waiting for me to talk first. He'll be doing circles all night because I don't plan to.

Seven more circles and I sit down in place, legs crossed, shoulders folded in around me. Making myself small. Chin on my hands, elbows on my knees. PJ comes out, watches this spectacle for a moment and then goes back inside, shaking his head. He doesn't get involved unless he thinks I need protecting. I don't.

Well, some parts do. My heart. My head. And maybe Loch is right. If I would just listen to him, he could direct my life like a film and things would be that much easier.

For him.

I have a personal credo to do everything the hard way, it seems and so I rail against that.

You know, before he left, Ben talked to me too. We have a mutual approach to you. If it makes you happy, it's okay. 

Oh, bullshit. If that was the case I would sleep on the beach every night! Among other things! CHRIST.

That would be dangerous and you'd get cold and...what? What other things?

Things that would MAKE ME HAPPY! 

THEN PICK SOMETHING ELSE TO BE HAPPY ABOUT. Loch roars it back and PJ comes back to the screen door, watching him. I wave him away with one hand.

Treat me like an adult. 

He stops in the middle of an arc and jumps off the cycle. What did you say?

Treat me like an adult. An equal. 

Bridge, this is bes-

Jesus, you won't even CONSIDER it, will you?! I made it this far without you. Surely by now you can see that I'm not a child anymore. 

You made it this far without me? Consider that if you had been 'with' me it would have saved both of us a lot of pain. 

Who's fault is that? I'm on my feet again. He presses his nose down against mine and backs me right across the walkway. PJ comes out and starts to come down the front steps.

PJ, we really need some privacy here. Please.

Right back into the fire. Lochlan is the one who left. He's the one who refuses this role time and time again.

It's the Devil's fault, Bridge.

No, it's yours! 

Then let me try and fix it. For the last time.

What if it's too late? 

We're both here, aren't we? It's not too late, I swear it, Bridget. Jump like your life depends on it already because I think it might. 

What if you aren't there to catch me? 

What if I am? 

But what if you're not? 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Those who are on team Caleb will be pleased to know he didn't make a tactical error in leaving Lochlan and I alone to further bond in his and Ben's absences. True to three decades of historical precedence we can't actually get along long enough to do that.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Tattooed hallelujahs.

Summoned this morning early for a hasty driveway-goodbye, as based on yesterday's words and the general mood of the point Caleb has opted to fly to Toronto for almost all of this coming week to celebrate his retirement with his lawyer friends, some of whom he went to school with, some he worked with for years and years. This is his old boys' network, where letting your hair down involves rolling up your cuffs two whole times, loosening your tie but never actually taking it off and having that second whiskey. They will play golf and test drive each others' cars and talk women and song and it'll be boring to onlookers but great bonding for them. They're all sugar daddies to varying degrees. He's the only truly good-looking one though.

I presented in Hello Kitty shorts and a Rush Snakes & Arrows tour tank top, all bangs and knees. His whole cold attitude crumbled like a cookie when he saw me.

You look rested. 

I am. You? 

Didn't sleep. He pulls out a roll of bills and two cards. For emergencies. Both cards are black. (What sort of emergency will I have? I'm wondering.) I'll be back Friday night. Just need to go play a little golf and see some old faces. I do need you to rebook a meeting I had made for Wednesday. The info is on my desk, if you wouldn't mind. 

I don't mind. 

Thank you. Rebook for a week from now. And maybe by the time I come back the pool will be ready and we can have a late-night swim. 

Maybe. Maybe I'll throw you a Welcome Home pool party. 

That would be good to look forward to. 

Do you want to come up and see Henry before you go?

Let him sleep. I'll call him after lunch. 


Stay safe, Neamhchiontach.

He got into the jeep and PJ saluted me as they headed up the driveway. The Devil blew a kiss which I didn't return. Once they were out of sight I jumped up and punched the air with both fists.


From the front porch Lochlan laughed, because he followed me right out the door this morning but I didn't hear him. A ninja in boxers and a Rush t-shirt from the same tour.

Well now, Peanut. Six days with only ourselves to blame for whatever happens next. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Living the life of Reilly.

It's the colloquialism I hate most.

He's living the life of Reilly. 

No, he isn't, for Jake Reilly is dead and in his place stands his tiny blonde and deaf widow and she isn't in the mood for your wistfulness, your familiarity. Hilarity, it is to her, for she is held prisoner here in your memories instead of being free to go and remember her own. How dare you?

How dare you.

Lochlan and Caleb are both still alive, if it matters. Lochlan only went to tell Caleb to back off. Caleb laughed in his face and that was that, apparently. Lochlan's hands are tied, bound by our past and knotted up in our future and so he is helpless for now and I call the shots.

So I called them as Caleb loaded them in by name. Every bullet is named Bridget, every aim will kill. If he squeezes even a little I will be crushed and a memory unto myself. I don't know if he would ever be frustrated enough to do so, I don't want to be around to find out.

I went to see him and he held the memories to my head, safety off and I told him this isn't how he's going to make me love him, that there are nights and weeks and months and hours between Lochlan and I that no one can supersede. That no one can possibly comprehend.

That's in the past, Neamhchiontach. 

No, that's in the future, Diabhal. It's a future without you. 

He squeezes the trigger and my head explodes, showering us both in glitter and blood. Bits of my heart slide down the walls for who knew that my heart was in my head while my brain thumps against my chest like a drum?

I did, he tells me and he keeps squeezing until the clip is empty and so is my fucking head.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Swimming with the enemy.


He's going to be my shadow. 

Nine on the dot and he arrives at the kitchen door with a bottle of leftover champagne, two towels and his wetsuit. 

Let's go try the toys I haven't played with yet. 

PJ's eyebrow went up but he didn't say anything. 

Can't. I have a mug of tea in my face so I talk behind it. I have to take Daniel in for his appointment. 

Afterward, perhaps.

Movie date with Joel this afternoon. That's YOUR fault, remember? 


I stare hard at him. I need notice. Maybe you should do up an envelope.

When are you free next? 

Tomorrow morning. It's Saturday. I don't have any plans. 

Would you like to try the waverunners with me tomorrow then?

I would love to. Also I'll try to pop in and see you later for the field trip and clothes money. And to give you the exam schedule for the kids. 

That would be great. I think I'm going to go try these things out on my own then. No time like the present. 

PJ can't take it and tells Caleb he'll go with him. No one is supposed to go alone and really, he is free since I'm taking Daniel in town.

Really? Okay great. Let's go. Some company would be great. I've got the warming drink for afterward.

Okay but I have to warn you. I look like a naval mine in my wetsuit. 

Is that so?

Yeah but she looks like a vanilla bean in hers so I consider myself lucky. 

What's up? Loch walks in and grabs a mug to pour some tea. 

I'm heading out to take Daniel to the doctor and PJ and Caleb are going to use the wave runners. 

Got room for a third? 

I was about to say no when I realized he wasn't looking at me. 

Caleb's eyes flicker briefly just once and then he turns into a teenager. Yeah. Come on! 

And I wander next door in a daze. 

Hey Bridge. I'm ready. Daniel is putting his wallet and phone in his pocket. He grabs his crutches and waits for me to open the door for him. 

What's wrong?

Nothing. Loch and Caleb and PJ are going waverunning. 

Ah. Nice. 

No, I said Loch and CALEB. 

Oh, I missed that part somehow. 


Should we stay? Send in reinforcements? Call the military?

No. I guess PJ is there so no one will die. But really, what is Caleb up to? 

He invited Loch and Loch said yes?

No, he invited me and I couldn't go so PJ said he would spot him and then Lochlan walked in and invited himself. It was weird. 

That is weird. But maybe they're trying to be friends. 

I don't know. I'm pretty sure those days are over. 

Then just wait and see. Things will be okay. 

He passes me and I lock the door behind us. I feel like I'm going to cry and I don't know why. Things haven't been okay for thirty-six years. Why would that change now? 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

(The bluebird in Winnie the Pooh.)

I'm hung over today and ashamed. Champagne is not friendly fire, it's a weapon of mass destruction and I am a hell of a lightweight target. I couldn't speak in simple sentences by the time Lochlan carried me upstairs.

You'rnt Pooh Bear. You're Owl. Owl knows thing. 'Watch out for the jagulars!' you say. I'm listen. I try.

Oh, Jesus, Bridge, come here.

He opted for a cool shower for both of us while I worked on coherent speech. I felt okay, par for the course as my inebriations seem to affect my verbal and motor-skills first always.



Time for sleep.

He should haven't named me Kessie. Whyyyyyy.

The bird?

Yeah. Why am me Pigalit?

The annoyance factor, probably.

Thank fuck you.

Yep. Sleepy time, baby.

And lights out for me but then the Devil came to breakfast and he was attentive and helpful and he saw the kids off to school while I gingerly cradled my skull from the inside by gritting my teeth which worked for a time until the rest of the collective appeared and found out I was feeling poorly this morning. They began to talk loudly and slam things around the kitchen as hard as possible because they think it's funny.

I won't ever do that again but rarely do any of us drink to excess these days.

Caleb waits until everyone wanders off with coffee/juice/toast and Lochlan has gone to fetch Daniel and then he looks at me. He hasn't shaved. He's in a slate blue t-shirt and jeans. Bare feet. I kind of want to stare for a while but also I still want to barf.

You should have stayed last night. I would have made sure you remained awake until you felt better.

Such concern for someone who must have refilled my drink six times over.

We were having fun.

Too much fun.

Not enough fun. He stares at my eyes. It's hurting me. I look out at the water.

Are you going to follow me around all the time now that you're retired? Is this what it's going to be like?

Yes. I think I will. At least until the novelty wears off. 


It is, indeed. I'm having fun so far. What about you? 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A warning that you wanted.

I invade you now
I take you down
I make you now
I erase you now
Here's to actual retirement, said the Devil, raising his glass, just shy of his original teenage goal in Freedom Fifty-five. This took forever with three false starts in which he poured his assets into one thing after another instead of taking his toys and going home already. He has enough toys. What he needs is a break. This came a complete surprise. I thought he would hold out on me forever and keep working.

I actually didn't think he was serious when I was nine, when in one of the early, numerous fist fights between himself and Lochlan he threw Lochlan down in the dirt and proclaimed his bravado, the kind only utilized by your average egotistical seventeen-year-old.

At least I'm going to be somebody!

Lochlan got up and took Caleb down in a running tackle, oh he of only fourteen tender years at that time and said he was too.

The were both covered with dust, Christian and Cole pulled them apart and told them both they should grow up first of all, before anything else.

And so Caleb became somebody rich and Lochlan became somebody famous but only if you read the local financial papers and only if you know your friendly neighborhood freaks. Otherwise they are just two desperate men looking to grab that brass ring of a heart that belongs to me and only seems to beat really loudly just before it breaks.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Lochlan is going to kill me with books. This will be how I die. He brought home Finders Keepers, the sequel to Mr. Mercedes and I squealed, half in dismay because I put aside King's Revival in order to dig into the Outlander series. I'm never going to catch up.

That's totally fine.

I couldn't talk to Ben today. I didn't have any courage. I couldn't put on a happy face. I can't even think of him without bursting into tears and wondering why my loyalties only seem to ever extend to whatever is within arm's reach instead of what my heart has already mapped out without waiting to consult my brain, who logically went in a completely different direction and is now lost, stranded somewhere I can't easily see.

It isn't fair that I now count Sam as being more forthright with affection in Ben's absence. Making up the difference. Filling in the gaps. An incendiary device in thought, let alone in practice.

And yet still, Lochlan doesn't say a word.

When Matt comes home early I am handed off quietly. Back to PJ, or Duncan or Daniel until Loch comes inside and cleans up. I feel like I'm the national treasure to be guarded. I feel like meat. I feel spent and all cried out and here I was, such a brave little asshole telling Ben to go. Standing up to him as he looked for ways to tear me down, refusing to give in to his plea to say the word and he would stay.

I'm not going to be his regret, keeping him from doing what he lives for.

But maybe I already am.

He says that's insane and I nod because of course it is if it comes from me. He says if things stay this way then we'll be okay when he comes back. We tell ourselves these stupid reasonings so that we can sleep at night but really it's because we have no idea what we're doing here.

I don't see how tomorrow will be different. June wasn't. July won't be. August is over the garage biding his own time until I collapse from this weight and September is a lifetime away.

The Devil took the call in my place and probably told so many lies Ben will never bother coming back at all if it weren't for Daniel but that remains to be seen. Ben won't just accept whatever Caleb tells him but Caleb has a long history of promising to help Ben all the while twisting a knife in his back. I can't count on the Devil to smooth things over. I made this mess myself and I'm not mature or decisive enough to sort it out now so what do I do?

I pick up the phone and stare at Ben's picture. Five missed calls and eighty-one text messages and I press the button again to turn the screen off while I turn my face back in against Sam's blazer because it's better than trying to be brave.

Monday, 1 June 2015

For me it's not memory lane. It's more like an eight-lane highway. It's the TransBridget.

(A seventeen and twelve to offset the aftertaste from yesterday's twenty-four and seventeen.)
Overdue, where did it all go wrong
and I'm too soon, where did it all go wrong?
I wasn't allowed to order french fries just now. My nose is really stuffed up, my throat raw to the point where I cried out for a drink at three in the morning and Loch resorted to giving me a tiny sip of very warm beer.

He was gone and back at six with groceries as a result. Cough medicine. Juice. An ice pack and tylenol. Today I'm only leaving the camper for lunch. He'll bring dinner home with him but since I feel okay right this second, he risks putting me behind him on the motorcycle for the eight-minute trip down the highway to the diner.

Now that we're here, he has ordered for both of us. Spicy chicken soup. It comes with a roll, butter and a drink of choice. He ordered orange juice for me and for himself too. He's going to get sick within the week. I always seem to get it first. He said that's because I'm smaller and weaker, but he's not saying it to be mean, that's just the way it is.

While we pick at our rolls waiting for soup I start carving a little army out of my pat of butter. It's as hard as a rock. Soon the tiny standing army has taken shape and Loch is mesmerized for a long time before talking about nothing, like we always do when we're waiting for food. We've covered everything there is to say so the only thing we have left is the same questions with more entertaining, surprising answers. It's fun.

What do you want to be when you grow up, Bridgie? 

I think I'll be an astronaut. 

Oh, hey now, what gives? Last week you were going to be a ballerina!

I've decided it looks boring and I get wedgies really easily so no. 

But tutus! 

I will wear them with my astronaut costume. 

Is it a costume? 

A uniform? No-a suit! It's a spacesuit. 

So a spacesuit with a tutu. I'll be able to figure out which one you are from my telescope. 

I'll wave. You'll know it's me. (I am serious. Also naive..)

True. You'll probably be the smallest. I'll find you. What will your job be in space? 

I will choose new colors and paint the planets. I bet they are overdue for a fresh paintjob.

All of them? You're going to be gone a while. 

No, see, I'm making an army of butter astronauts. Butter-nauts. They will be tasked with doing my bidding in space. 

You're going to rule space now? 


A little mean ballerina-naut?

Ballerinaut. And I won't be mean. Everyone will get lots of space soup to eat. I will be friendly AND generous. 

Nice. So you're going to bring these guys with you into space instead of spreading them on the roll?

No, silly. These ones know their fate already. Onto the roll they go. I squish them flat against the bread with a very serious expression and we both laugh. I start coughing, barking like a seal and everyone in the diner turns to look at me.

I guess we'd better go back home so you can have a sleep and feel better. 

I feel fine, Locket.

But if you have a dream you can finalize your plans for space. Maybe pick some of your colors out. If you like. 

Will you stay with me? 

Of course. I'm going to be the first one who hears what colors the plantets are going to be next. That's an honor, you know. 

It is. Hey, Loch? 


Thank you for the soup. It's really good. 

You don't have to thank me. It's probably my fault you're sick in the first place. It's still not very warm at night yet in the camper. 

Yes it is. 

You think so? 

Well, you are warm and I sleep right there, I point at his chest, and so I'm warm too. 

He smiles but he doesn't say anything and I pick up my bowl to make sure I eat every last drop of soup.